Fire Protection and Fighting System at the Plymouth Cordage Company

FIRE is a menace in all large plants and causes the management considerable anxiety. This is especially so in a cordage plant with its inflammable raw materials in storage and in process.

Many disastrous mill fires have come from entirely unexpected conditions, such as unsuitable weather for working stock, and accidents, so that one can never feel sure of being free from the danger of a bad fire. The case of one very large plant that had three possible sources of water supply for fire protection, every one of which failed in an emergency, with a large resulting loss, may be cited as an illustration of how the best-laid plans amiss.

At Plymouth Cordage the management has not spared expense in protecting the interests of all; suggestions of able insurance engineers have been carried out, and the plant appears in good condition to prevent fires or to fight them. The old saying, “Prevention is better than cure.” is never nearer the truth than when used in connection with fire. Smoking is prohibited in the mills and mill yards, and so is the carrying of loose matches. Pennv-in-the-slot Safety Match Machines are located at the mill entrances, which minimize the carrying of ordinary matches. During shut-down periods an ample force of watchmen makes hourly trips which cover the entire premises. Hazardous processes such as the use of pickers are in isolated rooms. Care is taken to keep the premises free from rubbish. Oily rags are kept in metal containers. The help is very well informed about the danger from fire.

For fire fighting there are on the premises four Underwriter Pumps of a combined capacity of 3,700 gallons per minute, which would supply some fifteen large hose streams. These pumps have ample suction supply from ponds, and serve ample supply serve through large mains sixty hydrants scattered about the yard. Most of these hydrants are in houses equipped with hose, nozzles, axes, bars, etc. Besides these there are eight hose reels, each with five hundred feet of hose, the total amount of tire hosebeing 8,500 feet. The hydrant system contains a number of subdividing valves, so located that in the event of a bad break the crippled section can be cut out, leaving the pumps available on the remainder.

Plymouth Cordage Company’s Fire Brigade at Drill. Ladder Company at Drill.One of Eight Hose Reels to Supplement Hose Kept at Hydrants.Four Hose Streams on Roof.Carrying Hose Up Ladder.

A large main from the town of Plymouth connects, through check valves, into the yard mains and keeps the ordinary static pressure on the sprinkling systems. This town main is also available for immediate use to supply a few fire streams without starting the fire pumps. If this town pressure is reduced from a break or other shut off in the streets, two of the fire pumps automatically come onto the mains.

The buildings are 95 per cent sprinklered and require about 18,500 sprinkler heads. In the remaining five per cent of the buildings, the construction is either non-combustable or sprinklers are under consideration. The storehouses being unheated have thirty 6-inch dry-pipe valves for their sprinklers. Two hundred fire doors are installed for the various cut-offs. Electric apparatus is supplied with tetrachloride extinguishers. There is also some foam equipment, which with over 300 small hose outlets through the mills, water barrels and buckets, 2 1/2-gallon extinguishers, ladder equipment, etc., seems to furnish adequately

Plymouth Cordage Company’s Fire Protection and Fire-Fighting System. Two of Four Fire Pumps, Delivering 3,700 Gals, per Minute to Sprinklers and Hydrants.Hose Houses at Hydrants, Fully Equipped with Hose, Nozzles, Spanners, Lanterns, Axes and Bars.

all essential apparatus. The investment in fire protection and fighting equipment is approximately $150,000.

The company maintains an organized fire department, men selected from the mechanical rooms, who live near the plant. These men are drilled weekly, except in winter, on hose lines to encourage initiative, and to familiarize them with the available apparatus and the buildings. A secondary call crew reports at an alarm of fire to assist the regular drilled men and take over the work of safeguarding the stock and machinery, particularly from water damage. A Gamevvell System, with nine boxes around the yard, works the fire whistle and gives the location in an annunciator in the head watchman’s office where there is always a man on duty. The alarms on the storehouse dry-pipe valves also all ring in at this point. The different parts of the system are subject to careful, regular inspections by competent men, and receive regular inspections of the fire insurance companies’ experts.

The town of Plymouth also is prepared to furnish valuable assistance. It has an excellent motor-driven equipment and a superior organization. A pull on the town Gamewell box, which is near the head watchman’s office, brings one 750 and two 350-gallon motor pumps; one ladder truck with hose and chemical material. These pieces in ordinary weather would reach the plant in about five minutes. On a second alarm, one horsedrawn steamer of 900 gallons and other of 500 gallons would respond. There are ample pond and harbor facilities for suction supply to this pumping apparatus.

Our responsibility to the trade in supplying both rope and binder twine for the world markets, where and whenever needed, is never for a moment lost sight of, and these efforts along fireprevention lines to safeguard our plant from fire losses, insure uninterrupted production of our cordage products, availability of their supply, and dependable service at all times so far as is humanly possible.—A . F. P. A. Quarterly.




Fire Protective Rules at Kodak Plant

In connection with the opening of the new building of the Eastman Kodak Company in Kodak Park, Rochester, N. Y., a set of rules and fire department regulations were formulated to safeguard the 1,200 employees who are employed there. With the exception of the top floor, the building is used for a warehouse and stock room.

The fire department consists of a chief, assistant chief, also a captain for each floor. The captain is in charge of the fire until relieved by the chief. Each room or department shall have a lieutenant who shall assume charge of the safe egress of the employees from the building. They shall see that the fire doors are closed and that a search is made for all the occupants.

The department is then divided into squads with squad leaders who are instructed to conduct the squad safely from the building and to keep them in line until it is time to return to the building. One or more searchers from each sex are appointed to make a search of the wash rooms to ascertain if all have left the building.

New Concrete Warehouse Building of Eastman Kodak Company, Which Houses 1,200 Employees

The telephone operator, as soon as fire is reported, must keep the trunk lines free from all other calls but those for calling the department and for the promulgation of the fire alarm. The relief operator must report to the switchboard immediately to assist in relieving the load.

The sprinkler attendants report to the chief and close the sprinkler valves as instructed.

The elevator operators upon the sounding of the fire alarm will cease from carrying the usual freight and will proceed to the top floor and work down carrying the crippled, aged or sick to safety. The janitors shall keep all aisles free from obstructions, while the door guards shall close the doors and allow no unauthorized person to enter the building.

One of the strong rules is that no matter how small the fire is, to immediately send in a city alarm. The fire chief must see that the employees make a safe exit, then do all to control the fire until the arrival of the city fire department. When the city fire department arrives, they will take full charge.

Some of the general rules are that on the sounding of the fire alarm, all are to stop work, shut off power and stop machines; shut off gas or other open flames; search for fainting employees and close doors and windows; put chairs, stools and other obstructions under dr on top of benches or desks to clear the passageway; form line promptly with front of column facing usual egress aisle and wait for command from captain; lock valuable books and papers in vaults; march in rapid orderly manner, two abreast and not crowding on couple immediately in front; retain formation until dismissed or returned to the building. Women and children will always have the right of way.

The company’s rule is that all persons occupying private offices must also participate in the fire drills.